DOTr to give SMC time to recover after fire damaged skyway project
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade gave San Miguel Corp. time to recover after a portion of Skyway Stage 3 collapsed from a fire last February 2, according to an official from Department of Transportation ( DOTr) on Wednesday.
“We are supposed to break ground based on the time schedule, either the month of December or January this year but you all know that the president of SMC is going through a hard time and based on my personal conversation with those involved in Bulacan (project), instead of forcing SMC, our secretary at this point in time has opted to exercise human compassion and decency,” said Assisant Transportation Secretary for Procurement and Project Giovanni Lopez said during Malacanang’s weekly economic briefing.
Lopez said despite the delay, the construction for the New Manila International Airport will still start this year.
He added Tugade gave SMC, Bulacan airport’s proponent, a time to recover.
“Don’t worry (about) the SMC’s contract with DOTr, the government is always at advantage,” Lopez said.
According to the transportation official, SMC gave a P11 billion performance bond for the project.
“So once there is no construction or they committed a violation during the construction of Bulacan airport, rest assured that will be forfeited in favor with the government,” he said.
A newspaper column revealed that the airport project is already a goner as the Department of Finance recalled the signed contract days before the groundbreaking.
It added, “Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez is determined to stop the project, supposedly to protect the viability of the Clark International Airport. Sec. Sonny warned Duterte in a last minute confidential memo the Bulacan airport would become a white elephant”.
Last September 2019, DOTr and SMC signed the 50-year concession agreement on the P735-billion Bulacan International airport project that will be located at Bulakan, Bulacan.
Under the agreement, San Miguel will undertake the financing, design, construction, supply, completion, testing, commissioning, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the new international gateway.
According to SMC, the project is expected to fuel trillions of dollars in economic activity, potentially contributing about nine percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025, with the estimated impact to the economy nearly P900 billion. Ella Dionisio/DMS